Around this time of year, I begin daydreaming. My mind wanders to stretches of undisturbed sand, the sound of the ocean crashing rhythmically on the shore. I find myself lounging, the warmth of the sun toasting my skin, toes half buried in the sand, and the coolness of a cocktail greeting my lips. I daydream of margaritas and salted glasses. I dream of vacation.
Care to join me? I don’t have anything booked, but I do have something that might quench your thirst for some R&R. How does a Margarita Bar sound?
Wait. Not that kind of margarita bar. This kind of Margarita Bar:
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I have sweet little bars that boast of a crumbly crust, the peppy sweet and sour of margarita, and the island flavors of chewy coconut. It is a vacation in every bite, even if the next trip is months away. And it will surely be a hit at your fiesta! Salud!
Yield: Serves 12.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
I love the idea of cocktails in dessert form, don't you? The original recipe, as featured in the January 2001 issue of In Style Magazine, called for store bought liquid margarita mix. In an effort to make it a little more wholesome, I have made it with homemade margarita mix, but found the bars to be far too sweet. This adaptation calls for fresh lime juice and much more zest, for that perfect balance of sweet and sour, just like a real margarita. Now you'll just have to have the tequila on the side!
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in cubes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime* juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8x8" baking pan by lining it with two layers of parchment paper or aluminum foil, so that the ends overhang on both sides. Lightly coat with baking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour and confectioners sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter into the flour mixture, until you have coarse crumbs. Pour the crumbs into the baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside while you make the filling. Keep the oven on.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, lime juice, and lime and lemon zests using a hand held mixer or whisk by hand until well blended. Pour into the freshly baked crust. Sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the center is just set. Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar and carefully remove from the pan using the parchment/foil sling. Slice into squares and serve.
The crust can be prepare in advance if you wish. You can prep the ingredients and press into a pan the day before and bake the following day. You can also bake the crust the day before if you wish; keep the cooled crust tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
*If you are lucky enough to have key limes, they would be amazing in this dessert.
Recipe adapted from Lulu's Margarita Bars, InStyle Magazine, January 2001.